Chaophraya Dialogues 7 & 8

16-19th October 2011
Bangkok, Thailand

Leading opinion makers from India and Pakistan including parliamentarians, retired diplomats, former military officials, members of the policy and media communities, academics and civil society actors met at Bangkok for the 7th and 8th rounds of the Chaophraya Dialogue from 16-17th and 18-19thOctober 2011. They conducted comprehensive two-day dialogues on a range of issues impacting the bilateral relationship: terrorism and extremism, Jammu and Kashmir, Afghanistan, trade and economic integration.

The Chaophraya Dialogue is an Indo-Pak Track-II initiative jointly undertaken by the Jinnah Institute and Australia India Institute (AII) to encourage informed discussion of bilateral relations and enhance stakes in peace. The process has so far led to six rounds of dialogue and is now in its third year. The dialogue is primarily meant to give an opportunity to members of the policy and media communities and other groups in India and Pakistan to interact with each other on a sustained basis.

The Chaophraya Dialogue has encouraged participants to share the conclusions of each round with their respective governments. It has also provided a useful forum when the official dialogue process between India and Pakistan has been frozen. This was witnessed after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. During this period, when the official talks between the two countries were suspended, the Chaophraya Dialogue managed to bring together senior interlocutors from the two countries in Bangkok multiple times. One of its successes is the inclusion of Track II language in official statements in the Pakistani narrative.

16-17th October 2011

They noted with satisfaction the series of bilateral exchanges that have taken place over the last few months that have resulted in several new CBMs;

They welcomed the announcement by Pakistan to grant MFN status to India;

They noted the meeting of Defence Secretaries, where non-papers were exchanged over Siachen, and expressed hope that efforts will be made to reach an early agreement;

They expressed hope that Sir Creek will be resolved at the next round of talks;

They urged review of existing CBMs and their effective implementation in letter and spirit. Particular attention needs to be paid to the restrictive visa regime. Procedures for visas should be simplified and expedited for visits, particularly by academics, scholars, media-persons, artists, tourists, medical patients and pilgrims. In this context they welcomed steps taken to ease the visa regimes for businesspersons on both sides;

They recommended that new CBMs be concluded on areas of bilateral engagement, in particular to facilitate telecommunication links. Restrictions on the access of electronic and print media should be lifted;

They recommended that under the Peace and Security section of the dialogue, the two sides should explore nuclear and conventional CBMs;

They recommended that high level exchanges between the armed forces and intelligence agencies of both countries should be institutionalized;

While welcoming the progress made, they noted with concern that the dialogue is still vulnerable to untoward episodes and systemic changes are necessary to sustain the gains made. In this context, it was felt that the visit of the Prime Minister of India to Pakistan could afford an opportunity to achieve this change.

They observed that Jammu and Kashmir remains a principal issue in India and Pakistan relations, and therefore called for renewed endeavours to address the issue;

They noted that India and Pakistan are beginning to move forward on Jammu and Kashmir but underscored the need to look beyond the traditional security-centric approach and implement the agreed CBMs in letter and spirit;

They recommended that the dialogue – official and back channel – should vigorously be pursued keeping in mind the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir who should not be sidelined.

They recognized that terrorism is a common threat to peace and security in the region for both India and Pakistan and that the issue needs to be addressed immediately;

They felt that the transnational nature of terrorism demands that India and Pakistan share resources and make a combined effort to combat this menace;

They called upon both sides to exchange intelligence and related information on all groups known to use terror as an instrument against states;

They observed that the routine response to terrorism by both countries has been episodic and that India and Pakistan need to formulate comprehensive counter-terrorism policies. Knowledge, information and lessons learned by each should be shared with the other;

They recommended that an agreement such as a Joint Anti-terror Mechanism needs to be resurrected, refined and implemented as an avenue to formalize a cooperative relationship;

They recommended that engagement between parliamentary committees on security should be instituted.

Both sides commended the establishment of a joint working group on Afghanistan to discuss mutual security concerns and address issues bilateral and regional cooperation;

They felt it was imperative for TAPI signatories to push for an early implementation of the agreement as energy security is critical for regional development and economic integration;

They expressed hope that conditions will be created for an Afghan-driven process of national reconciliation.

They recognized that economic cooperation held the key to transforming India Pakistan bilateral relations. They urged that the report of the South Asian Eminent Persons’ Panel, established in 1998 under SAARC, be acted upon for greater economic integration of South Asia, particularly the Panel’s recommendation towards a South Asian Economic Union, Customs Unions and Monetary Union;

They observed that both countries needed to modernize their arbitration and commercial laws to enable promotion of trade through ease of movement of people and goods; a liberal visa regime for businessmen; and elimination of bureaucratic delays and procedures;

While acknowledging the need to provide stimuli for direct trade across the border, they recommended that infrastructure for movement of goods across the border be improved, as well as permission given for ports in both countries to manage each other’s cargo. Furthermore, both countries need to work towards facilitating regional and intercontinental trade routes on the lines of the Southern Silk Route;

They recommended that in order to facilitate trade and commerce, financial institutions in both countries should be allowed to provide banking facilities and related services in the other country. Furthermore, bureau standards should have a common code and accept each other’s certificates;

They recommended that efforts be made to coordinate the pharmaceutical registration process and administration between both countries. Similarly, telecom accessibility and cooperation need to be explored further. Both these sectors have great potential for mutual benefit;

They recognized the strong complementarity in the IT sector which should jointly be explored and its potential fully realized. Likewise, there is great potential for cooperation and outsourcing in the automobile industry which needs to be harnessed;

They felt the need for closer coordination and cooperation for South Asian energy requirements. In this regard, they recommended that both countries need to work together on climate change and explore alternatives in renewable, clean and green energy sources, including solar and wind power;
They strongly felt that both countries should work towards food and water security and recommended that cooperation in agricultural research and development should be explored to improve yields and for intensive cultivation.


Participants Pakistan Participants India
Sherry Rehman, President Jinnah Institute and Member National Assembly Amitabh Mattoo, Director Australia India Institute
Aziz Ahmed Khan, former Ambassador Siddharth Varadarajan, author and Strategic Affairs Editor, The Hindu
Syed Rifaat Hussain, Chair Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, QAU G Parthasarathy, former Ambassador
Nasim Zehra, Director Current Affairs, Dunya TV A S Dulat, former Chief, Research and Analysis Wing
Ahsan Iqbal, Member National Assembly Radhavinod Raju, former Director General, National Investigation Agency
Shahzad Chaudhry, former Air Vice Marshal Ajay Darshan Behera, Reader, Academy of Third World Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia
Tanvir Ahmad Khan, former Foreign Secretary Baijayant Panda, Member Lok Sabha
Humayun Khan, former Foreign Secretary Dipankar Banerjee, Director, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies New Delhi
Arif Kamal, former Ambassador Kapil Kak, former Air Vice Marshal
ArifAyub, former Ambassador B Mungekar, Member RajyaSabha
Salman Zaidi, Security Analyst, Jinnah Institute Happymon Jacob, Assistant Professor, Centre of International Politics, Organisation and Disarmament, JNU
Mishael Ali Khan, Program Coordinator, Jinnah Institute Mallika Joseph, Director of Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies
Shubha Kamala Prasad


18-19 October 2011

Newspapers, periodicals and news magazines from India and Pakistan should be freely available in both countries;

News channels from India and Pakistan should be accessible in both countries;

Indian and Pakistani publishers should be allowed unfettered access to each other’s country to be able to offer readers in both countries their publications at affordable prices;

Journalists, academics, researchers, students and publishers from India and Pakistan should be given multi-entry, long-term visas by both countries without city restrictions and police reporting;

There should be no limit on the number of correspondents that media organizations are allowed to post in each other’s country.

Non-Kashmiri media persons should also be allowed access to both sides of Jammu and Kashmir and be included in the categories currently permitted on cross-LoC buses;

The dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir – official and backchannel – should be vigorously pursued and efforts should be made to record and archive all details of previous and current discussions with a view to declassifying them at an appropriate date in future;

Jammu and Kashmir remains the principal issue between India and Pakistan and renewed endeavours are required to address the issue;
The existing roadblocks in cross-LoC trade and travel (including banking and telecommunications) should be removed;

Media persons should be encouraged to use value-neutral nomenclatures when referring to Jammu and Kashmir such as “Indian-Administered Jammu and Kashmir” and “Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir”;

Media and civil society in both countries should be encouraged to enhance their coverage and discussion about human rights violations and cross border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

Terrorism is a regional and international menace and empirical evidence suggests that states need to cooperate in order to fight it comprehensively. South Asia has been impacted by terrorism in the past two decades in ways no other region has been affected. This necessitates that states develop joint responses and strategies to fight it;

The two sides should expedite the process of normalisation to reduce incentives for policies that have created non-state groups that now threaten peace;

Parliamentary committees dealing with national security should meet bilaterally for exchange of information and views;

Both sides should bring their legislation in conformity with the SAARC Additional Protocol on Terrorism. This would assist in creating a legitimate framework for mutual legal assistance;

They should strengthen and institutionalize current military and non-military CBMs and related hotlines for defusing tensions.

A stable and peaceful Afghanistan is in the interest of India and Pakistan;
The people of Afghanistan need to move towards peace without outside interference;

While recognising each other’s security concerns, a bilateral consultative framework needs to be developed to address such issues;

Afghanistan should not become an arena of conflict for India and Pakistan.

A liberal visa regime with multiple entries for a minimum period of 5 years for businessmen is a prerequisite to facilitate trade and commerce. Visas should be granted on basis of certification from government-recognized trade bodies;

Both countries need to enhance their transport links through land, air and sea to facilitate landing and movement of each other’s goods. They should also increase the frequency of direct flights between their key cities. Indian carriers are encouraged to complement the fight services currently being offered only by PIA;

Efforts should be made to sign mutually recognized agreements (MRAs) for the harmonization of standards in chemical, pharmaceutical, horticulture, textile, cement, food products etc.;

Direct imports of machinery, components, spare parts, commodities and eliminating all positive and negative lists should be allowed;

Financial institutions in both countries should be allowed to provide banking facilities and related services in the other country in order to facilitate trade and commerce. Normal foreign investment laws should be applied on a non-discriminatory basis.


Participants Pakistan Participants India
Sherry Rehman: President Jinnah Institute and Member National Assembly Amitabh Mattoo: Director of Australia India Institute
Ejaz Haider: Contributing EditorThe Friday Times Alok Mehta: Editor-in-chief of Naidunia
Cyril Almeida: Assistant Editor and Columnist, Dawn Nirupama Subramanian: Associate Editor of The Hindu
Kamal Siddiqi: Editor, Express Tribune Manoj Joshi: Editor of Mail Today
Arif Nizami: Founder and Editor of Pakistan Today Indrani Bagchi: Diplomatic Editor of Times of India
Arshad Zuberi: Head of leading financial daily Business Recorder Suhasini Haidar: Deputy Foreign Editor and anchor at CNN-IBN
Mohammad Malick: Resident Editor of the daily The News (in Islamabad) Nidhi Razdan: Associate Editor of Foreign Affairs at NDTV
Shehrbano Taseer: Free lance Journalist and Columnist at Newsweek Varghese George: Chief of Bureau at Hindustan Times
Shafqat Mahmood: Columnist for The News Pradeep Mehta: Founder Secretary-General of Consumer Unity and Trust Society
Mosharraf Zaidi: Strategist and public policy advisor R. Prasannan: Senior Journalist at The Week
Happymon Jacob: Assistant Professor at the Centre of International Politics, Organisation, and Disarmament, JNU
Mallika Joseph: Director of Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies